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  • Author or Editor: S. M. Hartz x
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We evaluated the functional relevance of diaspore traits related to disperser attraction (DAT) of woody plants as indicators of plant-disperser mutualisms in the colonization of Araucaria forest patches in southern Brazil. Diaspores of colonizer plant genera were characterized in relation to DAT (diaspore type, size and color). We discriminated the influences of phylogenetic relationships among plant genera, forest patch size and interaction records with frugivorous birds on DAT by using variation partitioning based on Redundancy Analysis (RDA). DAT variation was poorly explained by each factor separately. Nonetheless, variation explanation shared between phylogeny and interactions was considerably high, indicating that the influence of interactions with frugivorous birds on DAT tended to be phylogenetically conserved. Furthermore, the variation related to patch size was high only when shared with phylogeny and interactions. Large, red, orange or brown diaspores, mainly berries and figs were related to more developed patches, while small to medium, violet or black drupes were related to small patches. Patch colonization is likely to result from a balance between plant responses to habitat conditions and plant diaspore traits, which is expected to influence seed deposition patterns depending on habitat use and diaspore handling by dispersers. Although phylogenetic habitat filtering is commonly thought to reflect ecophysiological plant traits, our results suggest that interactions with dispersers could also explain phylogenetic habitat filtering in plants.

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Studies of functional diversity can help to understand processes that determine the presence of species in different habitats. Measurement of functional diversity in silviculture areas is important because different functional traits can show different responses to this landscape alteration, and therefore ecological functions can be affected. This study evaluated functional and taxonomic differences in bird assemblages in a native forest and eucalyptus plantations, and also assessed the functional nestedness of the bird species. We censused birds in eucalyptus plantations of four different ages, and also in a native forest. The results showed higher functional and taxonomic diversity of birds in the native forest than in plantations and higher similarity of functional traits between plantations of different ages. The high functional diversity in the native forest indicates a greater variety of functional traits, resulting in greater functional complementarity than in plantations. The association of some traits with the native forest, such as nectarivory and foraging in air, indicates the importance of native habitats in maintaining species and functions related to such traits. Already, species traits in eucalyptus plantations represent a subset of those that were recorded in the native forest, indicating that some functions are maintained in plantations. Our results demonstrate that the species occurrence in the plantations and native forest is determined by species traits. Thus, the maintenance of some functions in plantations is provided, although there is a higher functional diversity in native forest.

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